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Why are Sacramento County golf courses still open during the coronavirus crisis?

ABC10 viewers are frustrated that Sacramento area golf courses remain open while many public spaces are closed. Here's what county health officials had to say.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — As the ABC10 newsroom continues to bring you facts, not fear, when it comes to the coronavirus crisis, we are continuing to answer questions sent in from our viewers through e-mail and text messages.

We received an influx of messages asking why Sacramento area golf courses remain open while many public spaces from gyms to beaches remain closed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

In e-mails sent to our newsroom, ABC10 viewer Kathlene Allen wrote "it seems hypocritical that other courses are closed, except sac county courses." Another viewer, Dana McKillip, e-mailed saying "it is dangerous and non-essential. it is really not any different than a bunch of kids playing at a park."

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While other counties in our region like Placer, Sutter and Yuba have closed their golf courses, William Land Golf Course is among the Sacramento County courses still open three weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to all Californians.

So, why are some golf courses still open? That's because it's still considered an essential outdoor activity by Sacramento County officials. Walking, hiking and running are among the exercises public health officials deem appropriate with the expectation individuals practice social distancing.

On the golf course that means players must stand six feet away from one another, only one person may be in a golf cart, players must bring their own clubs and facilities on the course must remain closed.

But how are social distancing protocols regulated on every golf course?

Sacramento County Director of Public Health, Dr. Peter Beilenson, tells ABC10 he's made several unannounced visits to check in on various golf courses, but it's important for the public to police themselves and their peers in an effort to keep the public safe.

"It is important that we get help policing the courses," Dr. Beilenson says. "We are very hopeful that people will behave appropriately and socially distance and be able to take advantage of this outdoor activity. But if they don't then we'll certainly have to come in there and shut them down."

Follow the conversation with Lina Washington on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can e-mail Lina at LWashington@abc10.com.

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